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How dinosaurs lived

How dinosaurs hunted

Allosaurus attacking DiplodocusAllosaurus attacking Diplodocus Among the theropods, the meat-eating dinosaurs, were not only giant predators such as Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex but also a wide range of smaller hunters. From the study of their bones and those of other dinosaurs close by, and by applying our knowledge of how modern animals hunt, we can re-create the hunting strategy of these prehistoric predators.

Pack hunters

A pack of Deinonychuses attack a TenontosaurusA pack of Deinonychuses attack a TenontosaurusThe discovery of the bones of several Deinonychus, small theropods, lying near the body of much larger herbivore, Tenontosaurus, suggests that the predators may have hunted in packs. Swift and agile, Deinonychus had relatively large brains, and may have used their intelligence to launch a co-ordinated attack. Hidden in surrounding vegetation, the group gradually surrounded it their prey, closing off all escape routes. At the right moment, they leapt on to their victim, using their sickle-shaped claws to stab through its thick skin.

Although the fossil skeletons of several Deinonychuses were found close to Tenontosaurus, another interpretation of the find is that several of the predators fought each other over a Tenontosaurus carcass they were scavenging.

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